Blinken Postpones Beijing Trip After Chinese Balloon Enters U.S. Airspace
By Bill Galluccio
February 3, 2023
Secretary of State Anthony Bliken's high-stakes diplomatic trip to Beijing this weekend has been indefinitely postponed. Blinken was supposed to meet with President Xi Jinping and other high-ranking Chinese officials to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war.
The trip was canceled at the last minute after a purported Chinese spy balloon was spotted flying over Montana near Malmstrom Air Force Base, which houses a nuclear missile silo field.
The Chinese government admitted that the high-altitude balloon was theirs and said it unintentionally flew into U.S. airspace.
"The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes," Beijing's foreign ministry said in a statement. "The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into U.S. airspace due to force majeure."
A senior State Department official told Fox News that the incursion is "a clear violation of our sovereignty, as well as international law."
"It is unacceptable that this has occurred. After consultations with our interagency partners, as well as with Congress, we have concluded that the conditions are not right at this moment for Secretary Blinken to travel to China," the official said.